Jeremy Lin and three other players will maintain valuable rights in free agency after an arbitrator's ruling.
The National Basketball Players Association said Friday that arbitrator Kenneth Dam affirmed its position that players claimed off waivers can use their ''Bird'' and ''Early Bird'' rights. The union argued that Lin, Knicks teammate Steve Novak, the Clippers' Chauncey Billups and Portland's J.J. Hickson should be covered by the exceptions that allow clubs to exceed their salary caps to re-sign their own players.
The NBA said it would appeal the ruling.
All four players were waived this season and claimed by other teams. They will become free agents July 1.
The ruling should help the Knicks' hopes of keeping both Lin, their starting point guard, and Novak, who led the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage. They are expected to re-sign Lin no matter what but would have been limited in their other options beyond that if they couldn't use Bird rights.
Teams can sign a player us...